The Los Angeles Rams have managed to supplement Wade Phillips’ defense this offseason with some much-needed help up front in the form of defensive tackle Greg Gaines.
Although he may have been taken in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Gaines is one of the few rookies that will likely have an opportunity to make an immediate impact. Of course, he will first need to get better assimilated with the new defense.
Phillips has gotten a better look at Gaines during organized team activities and mandatory minicamp. While it is still far too early for projections, he appears to be optimistic about his skill set.
According to Clarence Dennis of the team’s official website, Phillips likes what he sees from the rookie so far:
“I think [Gaines] obviously works hard at what he does, I think he’s a grinder, we said that, and I think he’ll be stronger in pads, where you can see his power and stuff,” Phillips said. “No pads and no contact, it’s hard to utilize that. I think once he gets the pads on, it’ll help him.”
“He’s done a good job so far,” Phillips continued. “He’s a smart player and we always say smart players get better. So he’s one of those guys.”
It is encouraging to see that Gaines has already managed to make a solid impression on his new defensive coordinator. Regardless, it is clear that Phillips is still anxious to see what he looks like when the pads come on.
The former Washington standout made his bones as a bit of a run stalwart and wrapped up his college career with First-Team All-Pac-12 honors, as well as the Morris Trophy, which is awarded to the best defensive tackle in the conference. despite his success in college, the rookie still has a long way to go if he hopes to earn Phillips’ trust by the start of the 2019 NFL season.
The departure of Ndamukong Suh in free agency has left a notable void up front alongside Aaron Donald. While many have speculated that Gaines could serve as a potential replacement, he spent OTAs working with the second team behind Sebastian Joseph-Day.
His current standing on the depth chart could simply be the result of his rookie status at this point in the offseason. This could shape up to be one of the more intriguing position battles through Training Camp.
It is no secret that the Rams have been porous against the run in recent years. As a result, Phillips may find himself relying heavily on the new additions like Gaines to help fix the issue.